This is from Tom Athanasiou in, among other places, EcoEquity:
… we’ve been so long distracted by the hard denialists [those who outright reject climate change and related science – PT] that we’ve missed the parallel danger of a “soft denialism.”
By which I mean the denialism of a world in which, though the dangers of climate change are simply too ridiculous to deny, they still – somehow – are not taken to imply courage, and reckoning, and large-scale mobilization.
Hard denialists are small in number though loud in voice. Tom, our most regular commenter on Price Tags, is a hard denialist.
But many of our leaders and elites – say, for instance, the leadership of Port Metro Vancouver – are mainly soft denialists. They would acknowledge the existence of climate change and the need for response – but they are not prepared to do anything that would cause disruptive change, certainly not in the name of preventing severe outcomes.
Indeed, they actively assist in the expansion of our carbon footprint (Port defends decision on coal shipping – letter to the Sun):
Canada’s port authorities are legislated to facilitate Canada’s trade objectives in a safe and sustainable way that mitigates the impact on the environment and human health, and considers local communities. Expecting ports to decide what gets traded is akin to believing airports should make decisions on immigration. Coal has been safely shipped through the port for decades and continues to be its most heavily-shipped commodity.
– Peter Xotta, Vice- president, Operations and Planning, Port Metro Vancouver
Not our jurisdiction. Only following our mandate. Nothing we can do – except promote and expand our role as carbon facilitators.
The board, I understand, believes it is not their job to take a stand, much less a moral position, on issues like thermal coal and climate change. But then they, being moral people, must rationalize away their participation in worsening an existential threat for future generations by basically not acknowledging their concurrence, and turning away.
That is soft denialism.